JAMES M. CRUTCHER 1841-1931
(Judge of the Probate Court, Paris). James Madison Crutcher was born in Monroe county, November 9, 1841.
His father was William Crutcher and born in Kentucky; his mother, before her marriage, was a Miss America Arnold, of
Kentucky. His father was a farmer by occupation, residing near Paris; he died in December, 1844, and James M.ís youth
was spent on the farm, where he assisted in farm work, but during the winter months attended the neighborhood schools.
When he was seventeen years of age he was offered a position as assistant in the circuit clerk and recorderís office,
a place he accepted and filled until the expiration of the term of his employer, Mr. George Glenn. He then returned to
the home with his grandfather, William Arnold, with whom he had formerly lived and assisted in managing the farm. He
remained there until three years after his grandfatherís death, which occurred in 1861. In 1865 he bought a farm and
moved his motherís family, consisting of herself and two daughters, on to it, where he, himself, settled. He followed
farming there, but during the winter months taught school. After this he engaged in clerking in a store at Granville,
and followed that until he was offered a position as deputy circuit clerk and recorder at Paris, which he accepted.
After remaining in the office as deputy for two years, he was then solicited by friends all over the county to become a
candidate for circuit clerk and recorder himself, to which he finally consented. Although his opponents were considered
among the most popular in the county, he was successful and was elected by a handsome majority. While serving as clerk
he read law and was admitted to the bar, passing an exceptionally good examination, being admitted at the April term,
1875. At the close of his term of office, he opened a law office at Paris and engaged in the practice of his profession,
but his health failing from close confinement and hard study, he returned to the farm and engaged in farming. As a
farmer, Judge Crutcherís career was quite a successful one. In December, 1880, the office of probate judge became
vacant by resignation of the incumbent, and he was requested to allow his name to be presented to the Governor for
appointment. Doing well on his farm and loath to quit farming, he hesitated to accept the office, even if tendered to
him, but the solicitations of his friends were earnest and continued, so that at last he told them that if the
commission were offered him, he would not refuse it. The Governor requested that a primary election be held to determine
who was the choice of the people, and the election resulting favorable to Judge Crutcher, he was appointed. He held the
office for two years and then was elected without opposition, now holding the position for the term for which he was
elected. Judge Crutcher is a man of excellent business qualifications, sterling worth and, as the above facts show, one
of the most popular men in the county. As a probate judge and as a man he has the entire confidence of the public, and
he has discharged the duties of his office with marked efficiency and ability. December 12, 1872, he was married to Miss
Ella Forsyth, a daughter of Capt. John Forsyth, of this county. They have one child, a daughter, Belle, now eight years
of age. After his election to the office of probate judge, he removed his family from the farm to Paris. His mother is
still living and resides on the farm, which he still superintends and manages.
From the Book: History of Monroe and Shelby Counties, Missouri
Published by: National Historical
Author: Elizabeth Prather Ellsberry
* Index to biographies from Monroe County
* As a means of funding its publication, the 1884 History of Monroe
County contained numerous biographies paid for by local residents and business owners who wished their lives to be
captured in print. The information contained within is both informative and entertaining but, as with any telling of
history, may or may not be entirely accurate.